Tutor Training – Becoming a Genius

As a student, there comes a time that you realise it might be nice to have something to do besides study. Something with a little more… financial incentive, shall we call it? That’s where I found myself a few months ago. After some brainstorming and a long, hard look at my schedule, I realised that the most feasible way for me to make a little cash while continuing with my studies was to tutor. A little digging around and I realised that Genius Premium Tuition looked like the best tutoring company to apply to (and I haven’t been disappointed by that decision).

Why did I choose Genius?

I had seen posters on campus and received a few emails from the Golden Key society about Genius looking for tutors. So when I decided to start tutoring, they were one of the first companies I looked up. After a little bit of time on the internet, two things made Genius stand out far above other tutoring companies and agencies.

First, their rates are better than any other South African tutoring agency or the average private tutoring rates. As a student, that’s a win for me!

Second, there is a reason for those rates being higher. Genius is incredibly intentional not only in how they teach their students, but also in how they equip their tutors. And with all the effort they pour into training and supporting their tutors, they expect a quality product in return.

The tutor training was something I looked forward to. I knew I could handle the subject matter myself, but to explain it to someone else? I wasn’t so sure. I knew the tutor training would make me more confident in my ability to deliver lessons that would actually make a difference to students.

What was the tutor training like?

When I walked into the office at Genius for the first time, I realised my assumptions were right: they weren’t playing around. I was offered a drink by someone wearing formal clothes and ushered in to take a subject test before starting the rest of my tutor training.

Over the next couple of weeks, my tutor training took a variety of different forms. I had to study and know Genius’ policies and pedagogies in depth. The test for that was much harder than I anticipated, but the process made sure I was familiar with everything I would need to know to be a high-functioning tutor. There were feedback and roleplay sessions with my trainer and supervised lessons where I got to try my hand at tutoring, knowing that someone more skilled than me was there to take the reins if anything went miserably wrong (thankfully, nothing did).

The two biggest lessons I learned during the tutor training programme (and am still learning how to implement in my day-to-day life), are how to listen well and how to take responsibility for my circumstances. These two things make not only me a better tutor and mentor, but a better friend and student as well.

What has the environment been like?

Everyone I’ve met at Genius is highly motivated, easy to talk to, and good listeners. I’ve never had a situation come up where I’ve needed help or an answer from someone and not received it within a couple of hours. My schedule at university is busy, and while I’m expected to deliver quality work in good time, the team has been understanding about my schedule and help me fit lessons in at times that work for both the student and me.

I’m still finding my place in the team, but our weekly ‘Syndicates’ are going a long way towards making me feel like I belong. Syndicates are our weekly meetings when the tutors (called GI’s – Genius Instructors) come together with members of management for some teambuilding and discussion around some aspect of better engaging our students or better managing our own lives as we balance our studies, work and social time. They have quickly become one of the highlights of my week.

What is it like working for Genius?

Being in university, I’m used to everyone complaining about how unorganised a system is. I can’t say that the same is true for Genius. There are a lot of systems in place, but they work quite seamlessly. As someone who can’t afford to waste much time, it has been refreshing to know that when I input something on our system or discuss something with a manager, I don’t have to worry about something going wrong or taking forever.

The students are a joy. We get to know a lot about them in order to try to meet them where they’re at in a subject. I’m starting to get more lessons now, and by the time I arrive at my first lesson with a student, I feel like I have an idea of what to expect with them.

Getting to know students more as I work with them is something I’m looking forward to. The culture at Genius is quite contagious, and I find myself believing in the potential of my students with very little doubt that they are able to reach their goals. I feel privileged to be able to be a part of their journey.

Sometimes the lessons are more theory-based or consist of working through several examples. Sometimes they involve exciting experiments to make concepts come alive for the student. Every lesson (and all the planning in between) feels like a team effort though. For an hour, the student and I get to work together toward their goals, but for many more hours behind the scenes, I know managers have been meeting with other stakeholders to make sure the student and I are equipped the best we can be to reach our goals. As a tutor, I feel supported and know that I am not alone. In turn, I get to help the student feel the same way.

My big takeaway:

I’m glad that I joined Genius. It’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding. Not only am I able to make that extra cash, but I get a sense of fulfilment and pride from my work, knowing that I’ve worked hard to help someone else realise their potential. I’ve recommended Genius to a few people I know already. If you’re looking for a few extra bucks and are considering tutoring, I’ll give you the same advice I’ve given my friends: apply at Genius; it will be well worth your while.